It’s not all black and white as Sheri Strobaugh enters our contest

There are also shades of Dorian Gray!

Oh! Literati!  Don’t hate me because I am beautiful.  I was born like this. One of our favs Sheri Strobaugh knows just what I have to put up with! Here is her entry into The First Annual Peggy Dobbs Write-of-Passage Contest.

When Beauty CAN Be Skin Deep

by Sheri Strobaugh

My name is Bethany Anne Galveston and today I will be beautiful for the first time in my life.  I have saved for two years to buy an avatar.  I’m 5’4” with brown wavy hair and brown eyes.  I was born with a birthmark covering the lower half of my face and part of my neck.  My bottom lip protrudes a little more than it should but it doesn’t hinder my eating or smile.  My smile is actually quite lovely if people just see me.

I have picked out my avatar and was given a list of all of my new sizes, dress, shoe, pants and bikinis!  I bought tons of outfits for my new body.   “The New You” store is only 20 minutes from me.  Eeeeek!

Entering the store people are moseying around.  Some beautiful, some homely, some in wheelchairs, some aching not to be noticed.  I get the usual looks. I spotted a pair of dark brown eyes on me.  They seemed to be smiling eyes, but when I looked directly at them, they turned away.  Too bad, they probably belonged to a real nice guy.

A gorgeous hunky chunk of a guy saunters up to me and asks if I would like to look at the avatars.   I told him I had ordered one.  He pulled my avatar from the reserved space.  He winked at me and I flushed.   I felt the $2000 drain out of my debit card just as my heart was beating uncontrollably.  No more staring like I’m hideous, they’ll stare because I am beautiful.

With great trepidation, I open the box.  Directions:  1. Strip down to your underwear to avoid any discomfort when “changing”.   2.  Remove shoes.    3.  Drink 8 oz. of bottled water before drinking the vile to avoid dehydration.  4.  Shake the vile for two minutes.  5.  Drink entire vile down, let the magic begin.   When the tingling stops, look in the mirror and say hello to the New You!

This is it!  Down the hatch.  I start feeling tingly!  It starts at the top of my scalp, then spreads across my shoulders.  Moving down my arms and swirling around my torso and tingling down my thighs.  Before I knew it, I actually felt the tingles leave the tips of my toes.

“Bethany, walk to the mirror.  Get your butt over there”.   I look at my toes in the mirror and slowly my eyes follow my body up to the knees, then follow the “long” legs up the small but shapely hips, up, up, up….is that my waist?  It must be 22 inches!   My eyes move up to a perfect bust.  Then I finally look at my face.  There is no disfigurement.  My lips are pouty and I have intoxicating sea blues eyes.  I AM BEAUTIFUL…

Dressing to the nines, I call my girlfriend Sarah to come over a little early.  We were going to the hottest club in town. She’s a natural 10 with gorgeous red hair.

Sarah knocks, “Hi I am Bethany’s friend.”

I smile, “It’s me!”  We scream, hug and fall to the floor. I ask, “Do you like it?”

She answered, “I love YOU, how ever you look.”

We got to the bar and found a booth.  Moments later I heard someone say excuse me.  I look up and he held his hand out and asked me to dance.  I melted.  We danced and chatted for hours.  We found our way back to the booth where Sarah had met a friend.  Please God don’t let me wake up from this dream.

The next morning the phone rang.  “Hello?  Oh hello Derek, what a lovely surprise.”  Derek asked if he could pick me up in an hour for a stroll on the beach.   I looked in the mirror… I could be ready with a quick splash of my face.  I felt my heart ping a little and wasn’t sure of the implication.  I quick kiss to my overnight buddy who grunted goodbye.

Monday morning my co-workers at the law firm were anxiously waiting to see “me”. They all recognized my voice and came swarming over.  Amongst the chatter, my favorite attorney walked up, Arthur J. Walker.  He said, “I hope this is what you want, but just know that we all love you just the way you are.  You are beautiful Bethany.”

Friday came again and I knew I was falling hard for this guy.  I suddenly came to my senses.  Oh no!  He has no idea what I really look like!   He is falling in love with a beautiful person…, but still…he’s looking at the perfect face when in reality…it’s not the perfect face.

After our date, Derek walked me up to the steps of my apartment, “I would love to spend more time with you Bethany.”   Passion took over in the next second and it was the most incredible night of my entire life.

Instead of enjoying the moment, I threw a fork in it, “Derek I have deceived you.  I am not the perfect 10.  I actually have a devastating birth mark that tends to make people stare just a little “too” long. I’m sorry I am not what you think.”

I burst out of my apartment two blocks to the ocean and dug my toes into the sand.  I could have waited five more months.  Dang, what was I thinking? My tears were as salty as the ocean tickling my toes…

Suddenly Derek gave me the most passionate kiss, long, bruising and body tingling.   He said, “I was in the store the day you came to pick up your avatar and I think you caught me staring at you.”

“That was you, Derek?”

“So about me, I’m kinda scrawny and was born with a cleft pallet.  I have a visible scar and my nose is kinda smooshed on one side.”

I laughed, “I can’t wait to see YOU Derek.”

He smiled, “I swear, it’s not too late.”




25 thoughts on “It’s not all black and white as Sheri Strobaugh enters our contest

  1. Glclark says:

    ————- In the voice of Rod Serling, “You’ve just crossed over into The Twilight Zone.” And this episode would be called, “Love is Blind.” Great story, Sheri. Keep ’em coming…..

  2. Michael Stang says:

    I really loved the hints along the way. Friends and then boyfriend end up wanting her as she is, which is to say as she was-and is; the way it is written. The POV is the best and truely makes the story great. Sheri you know I am a fan. This talented tale is only the latest reason why.

    • Sheri Strobaugh says:

      Thank you so much Michael. It always gets my heart a flurry when my story makes it way amongst all this talent surrounding me. I’m so happy to be part of this group.

  3. FJDagg says:

    Great story, Sheri! Loved how you closed the loop with Derek turning out to be the guy watching in the store, and with the same sort of back story.

      • Thorn says:

        Am I the only one to notice that the leading man is named Derek? Sheri? Is there something between you and our Brit that you’d like to share?

        • Sheri Strobaugh says:

          Oh Thorn…I didn’t take you as the jealous type but you know I love your humor. Derek is a sexy name….as is Thorn…our editor who is an amazing person, God and amazing beyond words….but did you like my story? I would like your critique so awesome editor in everything….C+ B+

  4. Diane Cresswell says:

    Sheri – this was beautiful. You really brought home that beauty is within not what we think beauty is. I love your stories. So good to read them again. Yippee!!!!

  5. Parisianne Modert says:

    Here is an imagnative, alternative love story with a sci-fy feel which is very much desired and familiar in concept within the 21st century cyber world which we live in. There are important questions about what is beauty and how that beauty represents in our lives. I’ll be honest with you when I say that I would be an instant customer at “The New You” store. Raise your hand if you would as well. Be honest! I believe I will read this story over and over again, because it is fresh in writing style, humanly compelling and exposes perhaps my weakest link to self-love. The main character who serves as the narrator as well is so humanly vulnerable, candid and revealing of her insecurities with us. She explains her assumed need so well. Bethany, however, is lovable as she is without going avatar. Her journey within the story is the discovery of her own value with and without avatar assistance. As a woman I relate to her thoughts and am charmed by her friend and co-workers who only want her to be happy. The people who already know her have already fallen in love with her which is the truer measure of love. Derek’s charm is that he too had already noticed and liked Bethany before they both became avatar. It is romantic to believe they would choose to return to their more human flawed appearances. I congratulate you and thank you for such a provocative story which will haunt my mind for quite a while. Um…may I whisper a question in your ear without all these readers hearing. Go away all you reading this other than Sheri…better…could you give me directions on how to get to “The New You”?

    • Sheri Strobaugh says:

      Thank you P. We all, at some point, wish we were taller, skinnier, blonder etc. but it is our inner beauty that usually bursts through as I know yours does. We just have to remember how beautiful each and every one of us is. You are a lovely lady…remember that.
      And….I’ll send you directions, ha!

  6. Miryam says:

    Great story line… the set up was super. What seems like sci-fi may be reality some day soon!! Crazy what DNA tweaking is going on in labs!! The ending was sweet and brought forth a message of true love. Thanks so much Sheri… good work!

  7. Tiffany Monique says:

    Beauty is in the eye of the pen of the writer. The people who see you see you, and the ones who don’t simply don’t. This was a gentle read despite all the harshness it presented. And Derek is awesomely written. I found myself wondering about him, whether or not he was shallow Hal or earnestly Earnest. I love the way this is written Sherri.

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